AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
9 Nov 2021
9:43 am

Brazil’s Coutinho backs Xavi to succeed at Barcelona

AFP

Club great Xavi was unveiled as the new coach earlier on Monday.

Newly-appointed FC Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi Hernandez (right), flanked by FC Barcelona's Spanish president Joan Laporta, poses with his jersey during the presentation ceremony at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Monday. (LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho said on Monday he thinks new Barcelona coach Xavi will be a success at the troubled Catalan giants.

ALSO READ: Xavi lays down the law after unveiling as Barcelona coach

Club great Xavi was unveiled as the new coach earlier on Monday, just over 10 days after the sacking of Dutchman Ronald Koeman.

“Xavi was a great player, a football icon, and now he is back home at Barcelona. I hope he has a lot of success with the group that we are,” said the 29-year-old.

“Given the person he is, he will definitely do very well at Barcelona.”

Despite being nothing more than a bit-part player under Koeman since returning to Barca 18 months ago from a season-long loan at Bayern Munich, Coutinho has nonetheless earned himself a recall to the Brazil squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina.

Coutinho suffered a knee injury last December that ended his season and following two operations he has played little this campaign.

“It’s like it was my first time,” said Coutinho of his surprise recall to coach Tite’s squad after a year out.

“It’s always an honor to wear this jersey.”

Brazil can book their ticket to Qatar if they beat Colombia on Thursday, and a draw would also be enough should Uruguay lose to Argentina the next day.

Barcelona sit ninth in La Liga after winning just four of their opening 12 league matches.

Meanwhile, Xavi said Barcelona’s players will have to play by his rules and raise their standards as the club’s new coach laid down a firm message at his unveiling on Monday.

Xavi was presented in front of almost 10,000 fans at Camp Nou before signing his contract on the pitch, alongside his family and Barca president Joan Laporta.

The 41-year-old, who has returned to the club where he won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues as a player, walked out to chants of “Xavi, Xavi” from his adoring supporters.